Jon Jones' first opponent for his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship has been confirmed by Dana White, and it has likely sealed the fate of his rivalry with Daniel Cormier.
Bones successfully obtained the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight title when he defeated Alexander Gustafsson with a third-round knockout at UFC 232 last month.
Since then, Jones has teased possibly fighting against Cormier for the third time in his career after he called out the UFC Heavyweight Champion during his post-fight interview following his win at UFC 232.
However, the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion's first title defense in his current reign won't be against his longtime rival, according to the UFC president himself.
During an interview with TMZ Sports, White revealed that Bones will be defending his title against Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235 in March later this year.
He said: "Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the NSAC in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2nd.
"Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his Light Heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a 5 round main event at the T-Mobile Arena."
As Dana explains, this fight isn't locked in completely yet and it won't be until Jones goes before the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a hearing regarding his drug tests that still showed trace amounts of Turinabol in his system following his 15-month suspension last year when the anabolic steroid was first found.
USADA didn't punish Bones a second time as they believed the new drug tests were still showing residual effects from the previous incident but he still has to go before the NSAC to receive his license to fight.
However, with Jones now fighting against Smith, and Cormier initially saying he had plans to retire in the early stages of 2019, it seems as though we may not see a continuation of the Jones vs Cormier rivalry inside the Octagon.
Jones and Cormier have faced each other twice inside the Octagon at UFC 182 and UFC 214 with Bones winning on both occasions, but the second fight was overturned to a no contest following Jones testing positive for Turinabol.
Cormier has stated that he plans to retire around his 40th birthday, which is March 20 this year.
Unless DC decides that he's going to put off his retirement for at least another year, we may have already seen him and Jones fight for the final time in their rivalry.News Now - Sport News